Thursday, June 8, 2017

IWSG and Quitting

(I am the worst!!! I had this post ready to go, but didn't press Publish... *sigh*)

Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

The IWSG question this month is:

Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

I haven't said "I quit," but life has insisted I say, "I pause," at different times.

My life is a little beyond hectic. (I know we all say that!) A fellow teacher recently used me as an example of, "You might have some challenges in your life, but it doesn't mean you have to take it out on people around you. Look at Mrs. Fraser. If you knew the things she was juggling in her life, you'd expect her to be mean, miserable and constantly cranky, but you'd never guess that, would you?"

Still not sure how I feel about the whole description, but my life is incredibly busy. Finding time to write is challenging enough. Finding the appropriate energy to apply to writing, revising, & editing is even harder. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation have reared their ugly heads on occasion and I've had no choice but to slow down on everything but the necessities.

And that all sounds incredibly self-pitying. It's not meant that way. Truly. I love my life - every crazy bit of it.

It's just an example to show that while I may appear to the slowest writer on the planet, it's actually not completely true. I'm growing and learning and still writing. And, no, I don't think I'll ever say, "I quit." Writing is too much fun!

How about you? How crazy-busy is your life? Any other slow-but-growing writers out there?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

IWSG & Bloo Moose

OOPS! I missed last month's IWSG post! The flu had me in its grip and I totally missed it - sorry!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

May 3 Question: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

That's a great question! I think CSIS, the FBI and Interpol probably have all of us on a special list. We do look up some weird and wacky things!

For my current story, I've looked up:

  • wolf reintegration
  • winter survival tips
  • pay scales for freelance journalists
  • Afghanistan (terrain, climate, and culture)
  • skinning an animal
  • deaths and injuries caused by wolves, moose, hypothermia, gun shots, machetes, and snow machines
My least favourite research was for the name of the town I'd created. I'd named it Blue Moose and there are a lot of quirks to the town that go along with the name.

Turns out Blue Moose is a name for a coffee shop, a promotional company, a paint company, a pub, ... well, you get the idea. 
I don't want to infringe on any copyrights, so I've changed the spelling to Bloo Moose. Now to get the stories done so I've got my own copyright going on!

Some of my other stories have had much weirder searches, but that's for another day!

How about you? What's one of your weird look-ups?

Monday, May 1, 2017

Joanne Dannon & Tropes with a Twist

Please welcome Joanne Dannon back to the blog today!
Tropes with a twist
I read somewhere there are only a handful of romance tropes, think – 
  • Friends to lovers
  • Secret baby
  • Forced marriage
  • Billionaire and an ordinary gal

To make your writing shine and stand out, you need something to make your story interesting and I
call it a twist. It’s what you make it interesting to keep the reader glued to your book.
In Notting Hill, it was heroine who was the “superstar” not the hero. It had the twist that made it interesting. Same with Roman Holiday where he was a reporter and she was the Princess. I do have to add that Roman Holiday is a love story not a romance since they don’t end up together.
But with these two movies, they added an interesting twist to hook you in. On top of that, you have awesome actors, clever dialogue and terrific secondary characters.
Looking at your writing, what can you do to add a twist in? Twists keep your writing fresh and interesting. Keeping in mind, all romances end with a “happily ever after”, so why should readers read your books?
Irrespective of your writing style, you should look at what twists you’ve included to keep your story exciting. 
In some of the old 1950s movies, the heroine would unpin her hair, take off her glasses and voila, she was stunning and the hero would suddenly notice her. Real life isn’t like that and in today’s romances we don’t expect women to physically change themselves to make themselves more attractive to men.
Using the duckling to swan trope, what can you do to add the twist? In my latest romance, Hannah is an everyday gal and is not the glamorous/hot type that Zac usually dates. In his POV we know that he sees her as pretty, reliable and a good friend. So how did I make Zac go from seeing Hannah as his sister’s friend to someone he can’t stop thinking about? That’s the twist. 
I spent a lot of time working on this so after a few chapters, Zac starts seeing her in a different way. He’s fighting it because he doesn’t want to take advantage of his sister’s BFF. 
It makes you want to read more. We know that Hannah likes him but will she be with him, knowing it will only ever be short term? Predictable is boring. You want to make your reading exciting so your readers will want to read more of your books.

Happy writing  
Joanne Dannon, an Australian author, writes to give her readers the experience she loves to savor--indulging in a sigh-worthy-happily-ever- after, being swept away from the everyday by diving into a delicious romance novel.

Joanne is a happily married mother of two heroes-in-training who loves spending time with friends and family. She can be found on Facebook and her website chatting about reading, writing, cooking, vintage-inspired dresses and all things romantic.
Joanne Dannon on the web:  
Facebook      Website      Instagram      Goodreads

Sign up to my Reader Newsletter and get a FREE e-copy of Bidding on Love

Forever Mine is the 4th book in the Alex Jackson series and can be read as a standalone book.
It's never a good idea to fall for your best friend's brother... or so they say. 
Hannah Greene is fed up. A romantic at heart, she's had a major crush on her best friend's brother for years but he's never noticed her. To shape a life for herself away from Zac, she must move on.
Zac Warne, smooth-talking sales guy who takes responsibility to a whole new level, loves the thrill of the chase but is not interested in settling down, ever. It's not that he doesn't believe in love, it's just not for him.
But circumstances have Hannah and Zac spending one weekend together and a night of fun leads to more than just emotional consequences for them.
Compelled to right wrongs and beholden to fix problems, Zac has to convince Hannah his about-turn about wanting a relationship with her is not just one of convenience. Can Hannah now trust this smooth-talking playboy who has a reputation for breaking hearts, including her own?
Buy on:
Thanks Joanne!

I love some tropes and I'm not too fond of others, but I especially love when there's a twist on a favourite trope.

What about you? What's one of your favourite tropes?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Worn Thin

Heart full
Shoulders laden
Hope bruised

Worn down
Worn through
Worn thin



Defences weakened
Eroded from the inside and out

Our world

So much hate
So much pain


Worn down
Worn through
Worn thin

But still

Shoulders back
Chin up
Heart open

Hope alive
Hope ready
Hope able

Worn down
Worn through
Worn thin


Not worn out
Not yet

Not ever

Monday, March 27, 2017

Still Me After All These Years

Please welcome the lovely Karen Walker to the blog today!

It’s a pleasure to be participating in the Blog Tour for STILL ME … AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: 24 Authors Reflect on Aging by Karen Helene Walker through MC Book Tours.

This is a charming, funny, and enlightening collection of essays about aging. In addition, Karen is offering a tour-wide giveaway featuring two (2) print copies (U.S. entries only) of STILL ME and two (2) eBook copies of STILL ME (International entries). See how you can enter to win below.

STILL ME…AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: 24 Authors Reflect on Aging
◊ By Karen Helene Walker
◊ Kindle: 2000 KB, 102 pages
◊ Genre: Biographies, Memoirs, Nonfiction
◊ Publication Date: April 4, 2017
◊ Language: English

Poignant...Humorous...Brutally Honest!

A collection of personal reflections guaranteed to keep you inspired and entertained on that journey we all travel together: The Journey of Aging.
With a blend of grace, dignity, warmth and humor, women and men from 60 to 90 and from all walks of life candidly share the blessings and pitfalls of aging – from keeping dreams alive and keeping sex lives active to dealing with retirement, loss of independence and a growing sense of mortality.


STILL ME is available at the following sites: Amazon (print and Kindle), Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and iTunes. Be sure to add it to your shelf on Goodreads.

Rev. Clara Alexander is an ordained New Thought minister who creates and performs sacred ceremonies, including unique weddings, funerals, memorial services, baby blessings and house blessings. She is also a popular speaker, inspiring groups with her talks on how we cling to our grudges, how we overuse the phrase “I’m sorry” and how we can live the life we love.
Wendy Brown recently retired from a career in wildlife biology, where she studied sandhill cranes and whooping cranes as they migrated from Idaho to New Mexico. Wendy eventually found a permanent home in Albuquerque, where she and her husband enjoy the sounds of sandhill cranes from their deck. Since retiring from state government in 2014. 

Valerie Capps has bypassed the porch rocking chair to pursue her life-long passion for writing, thereby proving that in today’s world, life can begin again at 65! Valerie lives in Nashville with her husband and their spoiled-rotten Welsh Corgi.
Mary W. Clark retired from her law practice in 2007 and transferred her observation and composition skills to travel writing. She is currently working on a book about her father’s World War II experience flying “the Hump” from India to China over the Himalayas. Mary lives in Paris, Texas.
Fran Fischer: “I was born at a very young age and that happened 82 years ago, so I don’t remember much about it. I’ve crammed as much living into my life as possible, and I’m not through yet. I’ve traveled extensively and I even flew in the same zero-gravity plane that the astronauts trained in. I live in California with my first (and only) husband, and we celebrated our 62nd anniversary this year.”
Pat Garcia (Patricia Anne Pierce-Garcia Schaack) is an American expatriate living in Europe. An accomplished musician as well as a writer, she has been writing (and reading) since childhood.
Mark David Gerson is the author of more than a dozen books, including critically acclaimed titles for writers, award-winning fiction, and compelling memoirs. Known as “The Birthing Your Book Guru,” Mark David works with an international roster of clients as coach and consultant, helping them get their stories onto the page and into the world with ease. Mark David Gerson
Holly Deuel Gilster plays “make believe” for a living. In other words, she is a professional actress and musician. Holly also loves painting with words as an accomplished poet, an award-winning short-story writer and a book reviewer for The Or Echo.
Aaron Gordon is a retired social sciences community college professor. He and his wife, Ellie, have been married for 65 years and have three children and grandchildren.
Ellie Gordon is a retired public school teacher who spent the best 20 years of her life in the classroom. A Chicago native, she now lives in New Mexico.
Karla “Rosie” Harper recently retired from teaching elementary school, freeing her to return to her early love of dancing. Today, when not helping out with her grandchildren, Rosie is taking dance lessons, spinning on a dance floor or performing in senior centers and retirement communities with Albuquerque’s Sugartime, as a singer as well as a dancer.
Linda Hoye is the author of Two Hearts: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Grief to Gratitude, available through major online retailers. A native of Saskatchewan, Linda currently lives in British Columbia (by way of Washington State) with her husband and doted-upon Yorkshire Terrier.
E.V. Legters hasn’t so much retired as she has exchanged one life for another — from rewarding years with career and children (while pursuing the arts on the fly) to a life with the arts at its center. She is the author of Vanishing Point and Connected Underneath and is currently hard at work on her third novel.
LD Masterson lived on both coasts before becoming landlocked in Ohio. After twenty years managing computers for the American Red Cross, she now divides her time between writing, volunteer work and enjoying her grandchildren. Her short stories have been published in several magazines and anthologies, and she is currently working on a new novel.
Kathleen Messmer not only runs a film production company with offices in the UK and the US, she is an avid photographer and wildlife advocate. In the unlikely event that she ever retires, Kathleen plans to live on a ranch with draft horses and pygmy goats and vineyards and fruit orchards, somewhere near the water. Oh, and a cowboy...maybe.
Karen Norstad has worked as cashier/gift wrapper, secretary, boutique seamstress, administrative assistant, manager of employee stock options, executive assistant, and budget analyst. Now retired, Karen’s life revolves around lounging about, wearing PJs until four in the afternoon, obsessing over the news, reading, fusing and slumping glass, practicing piano, keeping a small balcony garden and cooking.
Matt Nyman’s nonlinear career path has included working in the geological sciences, teaching high school, stay-at-home parenting and, currently, training tomorrow’s teachers. Poetry equently resides near the surface of his existence, occasionally erupting onto paper.
Jill Plaman was born and began aging in Milwaukee, but she has lived and worked in Albuquerque since 1977. She holds a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MSW from the University of Minnesota. Her special interests are travel, international folk dancing, reading, hiking and spending time with family and friends.
Maureen Polikoff is a clinical social worker/ therapist who has always pursued many other creative endeavors, including painting, playing music and, now, writing. A Connecticut native, she lives in New Mexico with her husband, Michael.
MaryFrank Sanborn left Boston 33 years ago, to apprentice with photographer Walter Chappell in Santa Fe. Still in love with the beauty of the Southwest, MaryFrank photographs, writes, hikes, travels, teaches yoga and meditation, makes soups on Sundays, and dreams of the ocean and whales.
Patricia Stoltey is the author of four mystery novels. The most recent is Wishing Caswell Dead. She lives in Northern Colorado with Sassy Dog, Katie Cat and her husband, Bill.
Susan Swiderski grew up in Dundalk, Maryland, where everybody calls everybody hon and eating steamed crabs is a sacrament. Although she’s happy in her adopted Georgia, part of her heart still lingers on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, explaining the setting for her novel, Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade. Susan is currently working on a trilogy, proof that this old gal is still a pathological optimist.
Jan Castle Walker is a retired teacher and an active artist. She lives in Davis, California with her husband, Mack.
Karen Helene Walker is a novelist, memoirist and essayist and the author of The Wishing Steps and Following the Whispers. When not writing, Karen is tap dancing, folk dancing or performing with the musical group Sugartime at retirement communities. Karen is currently working on her second memoir. 

You can follow Karen and the other authors along on their tour by checking out the schedule HERE.

This tour-wide giveaway is for two (2) print copies (U.S. entries only) and two (2) eBook copies of STILL ME … AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: 24 Authors Reflect on Aging. The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 4.

To enter, click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient.

Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to check out this charming book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks Karen, all the best to you and your collaborators!

How about you? Does getting older scare you or are you doing it with grace?
Me, getting older hasn't scared me yet. I know more, I have more confidence, and I'm much better at saying No. Sure, it would be great if my body would do a better job at staying strong, but I'm doing okay!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Theresa Milstein & A Moment in Time

Please welcome one of my blog buddies and all around sweetheart Theresa Milstein to the blog today!
I have a question I pose at the end of this post:
If you could relive any moment in time, what would it be?

Before you answered, I thought I should share my own answer. Then I realized how hard it is to answer this question. Sorry! I could choose the births of my children, but I don’t want to experience all of it again. I could also choose my wedding day—that was pretty great.

One of the poems in my collection is called “Un-Perfect Moment,” which was inspired by a family party a couple of years ago, dancing outside with my cousins and my daughter. Many of my aunts and uncles were there.

“those blood-bond circles of life swirl
through the past and towards the future
you sweep away in a shared moment
as hot and sweet as summer’s breath”

It panged me at the time thinking that in a year or two or five, some people might no longer be there. And that captures me entirely—even in a blissful moment, my head can’t stay there. I’m always thinking back, looking forward.

So I tried to consider if there were times when I was just present. I recalled another summer on vacation. My husband and kids wanted to take surfboarding lessons in Santa Cruz. I had no interest in doing so. They got into gear and climbed down to the ocean. I stayed on top at a small sitting area with my laptop. While I revised on that perfect-weather day with others out there enjoying the day, some older guy played guitar and sang original songs. I revised while I enjoyed the music and periodically looked out at my family, little dots upon at sun twinkled waves.

That was a very good day.

With subtle wit, and poignant imagery, the unrelenting passage of time connects the vignettes in Theresa Milstein’s Time and Circumstance. This reflective collection of real and imagined poetry and prose, speculates on an erratic childhood, the uncertainty of adolescence, and the reality of parenthood, through flashbacks of love lost and found.
Theresa Milstein writes middle grade and YA, but poetry is her secret passion. Her vignette collection, TIME & CIRCUMSTANCE, will be published by Vine Leaves Press in March 21, 2017. She lives near Boston Massachusetts with her husband, two children, a dog-like cat, and a cat-like dog. For her day job, she works as a special education teacher in a public school, which gives her ample opportunity to observe teens and tweens in their natural habitat. 

TIME & CIRCUMSTANCE is available for preorder!

$3.99 AUD (eBook)
Kindle AUS
Kindle US
Kindle UK
Kindle CA
iBooks | Kobo | Nook

$12.99 AUD (paperback)
Amazon US
Amazon UK
​Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Chapters Indigo

Leave a comment  and you’re eligible to win a prize during my blog tour!

1 $25 Amazon gift card
1 signed paperback copy
1 ebook

Answer the question:
“If you could relive any moment in time, what would it be?”

Extra entries if you share on Facebook or Twitter and link it to me.
@TheresaMilstein on Twitter.
@Theresa Milstein on Facebook
#ReliveMoment or #TimeandCircumstance

Winners will be announced on April 5, 2017

Thanks Theresa! There are so many wonderful moments in a life, but finding a perfect moment to return to... so hard. I think I'd choose a bright summer day when my hubby and I were teaching the kids to play t-ball. So much laughter and joy and love. One of those days full of potential.

How about you? What's your moment?

Monday, March 6, 2017

K.A. Servian & Self Publishing

Please welcome K.A. Servian to the blog today!

I decided to self publish because I'm a control freak. I am in control of the creative process from start to finish and while I use a development editor and beta readers, I make the final decision as to whether or not their suggestions are implemented in the manuscript.

I was a clothing and jewellery designer for many years and came to trust my own creative judgement. Ultimately, my name is on the cover, so I should be responsible for all the decisions, including the cover-I do them myself on photoshop. 

The only disadvantage with self publishing is the lack of a support team and promotional budget. I have been gathering a team of people around me, including an editor, proof and beta readers and I also have Nas to do the final line edit, formatting and promotional side which is essential. Thank you, Nas. 

When I receive notes from my developmental editor and beta readers, I consider them carefully. If there is more than one editor and/or beta reader, I look for 'trends' in their comments. If one person suggests a change that I'm not sure about, I check to see if anyone else has suggested the same change and then make a decision. 

I've spent my working life as a designer, so my creative efforts have been judged by everyone from agents to shop owners to customers, plus I'm studying applied writing, so I'm used to tutors and fellow students critiquing my work.  

I know not to be precious about my writing or take constructive criticism personally, I see it as an opportunity to learn and improve my craft. Anyone who reveals their creative efforts to the world must accept that everyone who sees their work will have an opinion about it. Some will be positive and some negative, but if you're happy with what you've produced, then that's all that matters.

After a twenty-plus-year career in the applied arts industry, including owning her own fashion and jewellery labels, Kathy decided to turn her creative skills to writing fiction.

Her first novel, Peak Hill, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016.

Kathy now squeezes full-time study for an advanced diploma in applied writing in around writing novels and short stories, teaching sewing and pattern making and being a wife and mother.

K A Servian on the web:

Website       Facebook     Twitter     Instagram    Author Page  

Join K A Servian’s Newsletter and get a free copy of: Missing the Obvious.

Grace is trying to come to terms with her mother's death and handle the unexpected arrival of her ex-boyfriend when a mystery document she finds in a box in the attic turns her life on its head and raises questions she is compelled to answer.

In her search for the truth, she stumbles into the middle of a missing person cold case in a small town where the inhabitants have kept a secret to protect one of their own for twenty-five years. Grace's investigation unearths long-held rivalries and opens old wounds, causing the past to collide with the present with terrifying results.

Buy on:

Amazon Kindle      Amazon Paperback

Shame on Who? (Short Prequel to Throwing Light)

In 1979, fifteen-year-old Jane Smith announced to her parents that she was expecting a baby. Thirty-five years later, the repercussions of the decision made by her father on that day come home to roost in the romantic thriller 'Throwing Light.' 'Shame on Who?' is a short prequel to the book and provides insight into the dramatic events that changed Jane's life.

Enter this Goodreads Giveaway to win paperback copies of Throwing Light!
Thanks K.A.! Being a control freak is a definite advantage if you're going to self-publish!

What about you? Any control freaks out there?